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What is South Invercargill's approach to Community-led Development?

South Invercargill

Location: Invercargill
Population: Around 18,000

South Invercargill is a community of some 18,000 people. It is home to the greater proportion of Invercargill’s Maori and Pasifika residents and three out of the four Invercargill marae are located in South Invercargill. Recently South Invercargill has also welcomed a number of new migrants to the community.

Over a number of years, South Invercargill was negatively impacted by school closures (6 out of 10 primary schools were closed by the Government in 2004/05) which took away the opportunity for substantial parts of the population to participate in the life of the community, and lost population and skills. South Invercargill was also affected by redundancies, a perceived lack of Council investment in amenities and infrastructure, absentee landlords and some poorly maintained housing.

The community’s demographic makeup is changing and is becoming increasingly ethnically diverse, bringing with it both more challenges and greater opportunities. The socio-economic status of community members overall is also decreasing with poverty increasing. This is leading to social isolation and learned helplessness within the community.

The community has had great success improving the level of pride in the external environment. A community park, community centre, social enterprise and many community-led events such as the Night Food Markets, have brought people together to give them a sense of place and greater attachment to the place – or turangawaewae.

The community has indicated through regular public meetings, surveys and focus groups that as a community there is now a need to focus on engaging youth, building stronger connections with and within the migrant community, and tackling social isolation.